Love it or hate, the last episode in Game of Thrones was the talk of the internet. Finally, the dragons were fighting beyond the wall! Against the White Walkers! And a dragon died! And then re-animated! And Arya threatened to kill her sister! And Jon and Daenerys teamed up to fight evil!
Some epic shit right there.
So how come this episode was for many viewers so underwhelming, to say the least?
One could blame the show's creators, Dan and Dave, for sprinting towards the finish line and rushing the plot, but that would be a copout. You could rush to the finish line and still write good dialogues and not leave a thousand plot holes in the ice for the characters to fall into.
A little bit of humbleness and openness to criticism could have made this episode much much better. And in this spirit of humbleness, here are a few examples of how these renown writers could have made this episode better:
1. Every single viewer knew the dragon was going to come back to life the moment they pulled him out of the water. But we had to sit through a minute of the King Night walking over, placing his hand and then zoom on his eye opening all blue for ab additional 20 seconds. When something is so predictable, it's less enjoyable, so why not show the Night King walking towards the camera, have us focus on him, and then – BOOM! – the dragon bursts out of the water behind him, catching us all unprepared.
2. Or maybe the Night King could have mounted the dragon at the end? That would have been a better finish to the episode.
3. Since we KNEW that Daenerys was coming over to save them, because she told us, we were ready for to reach our band of brother right at the nick of time. And in case we weren't sure when she'd get there, the battle was going all slo-mo and the music was telling us all is lost – cue saving dragons. Why not end the scene between Tyrion and Daenerys arguing thinking that Tyrion convinced her not to go? Then we would have been pleasantly surprised when she in fact did get there.
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4. The same kind of faux-suspense was used several more time. When our heroes see the undead bear, instead of it coming from nowhere and – again – surprising us, he was introduced slowly and explained that his eyes were blue, and then he came over slowly and only then attacked. Sigh.
5. Easy on the Deux Ex Machina. So when all is lost the dragons save the day. And 10 minutes later again all is lost and Benjen save the day. Wouldn't have it been better to have Jon ride a dragon away? Or maybe sneak away unnoticed? What did we gain by Benjen's one line of "there is no time" and 15 seconds of screen time?
6. We know Jon is not going to die, so there's no point pretending we were scared that he drowned.
7. Dan and Dave stated that the way they write the story is by highlighting several big plot goals they want to reach, and then work around towards them. The plot goal in episode 6 was to have one dragon die and become a zombie dragon. How will we get there? Through a poorly thought-out plan of a team of Avengers who sail up north and go beyond the wall in hope to meet a small White Walker and Zombie scouting party, separate one zombie, keep it alive, then bring it over to King's Landing. Funny how that's exactly what happened, huh? Why not have Bran see that the White Walkers were going to attack East Watch By The Sea and then Jon and Daenerys had go over there to fight? Simpler and more plausible.
8. The previous change would have removed the need for "red shirts" extras who join the mission just in order to die.
9. Less airy dialogue about past feuds and backstory, full of self-references that seem like lazy writing. Thank you.
10. Instead of shooting this episode as if it's an action and fantasy story, go for dark realism Battle of the Bastards-style. That was a predictable episode, and still easily in the top 5 best episodes of the show.
11. If you've been mining dragonglass for half a season, take a lot of it to the north and use it and mention it. Otherwise, why bother?
Game of Thrones was not supposed to be a story about absurd, with thousands of winter creatures who wait for a lake to freeze over before they attack the human invaders. Really? The zombies can't swim? Why? And the White Walkers do bring winter, so how come the lake took so long to freeze? And why not attack them all at once but rather send the zombies one after the other? And why shoot the ice lance at a flying smaller dragon with no rider rather than the stationary big dragon with the fire queen on it?
It sure seems like the show writers and director just went through the motions in anticipation that people will enjoy themselves only because we know the characters and dragons and zombies are cool. It sure did feel as if the viewers who enjoyed the episode put in much more effort into the plot, providing a dazzling display of water cooler explanations for the many head scratching moments. Let's hope for a better season finale.
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